Saturday, November 24, 2007

Flipping And Flopping For Greg Goode

File under: Gurubusting

A lion of gurubusting and a hero to this writer, Greg Goode has a new ebook out, Standing As Awareness. He posted an excerpt at the Nondual Philosophy Yahoo! group, reproduced for you here:
"Why Wasn’t I Enlightened at Satsang?"

Q: I have been attending satsangs for years. I’ve gotten very close to enlightenment. In fact a few times the teacher told me I was actually There. But then it seemed to go away. This has happened to lots of others too. Why??

A: Many satsang attendees report this. It seems like this experience came, then went, correct?

Q: Yes!

A: This coming and going is called the “flip-flop.” It’s one of the main dynamics at most satsangs, as well as their main problem. It is the onset of a very transcendent experience, followed by its departure.

Q: Yes, that’s right.

A: Now at satsang, didn’t the teacher tell you that it is not about having an experience?

Q: Yes. They all say that.

A: And yet you are wondering about the onset and disappearance of an experience.

Q: Uh, I guess so. (smiling sheepishly) I think it is because at those times, I am in contact with my true nature.

A: And at other times, you are not, correct?

Q: Yes, that’s right. It is blocked.

A: This is due to some of the satsang teachings themselves. One well known teaching is that at some moments there is a direct, experiential, knowing contact with your nature, while at most other times this knowledge is veiled or confused by story, belief, doubt, fear, anger or scattered-mindedness. According to the “veil” teaching, there are certain moments at satsang where the student has heart-opening, oceanic, loving, emotionally blissful experiences. It is taught that during these moments, the normally occluding veils have dropped away, giving the student a direct experience of their true nature. Sometimes it’s called a “free sample.”

Not all satsangs teach this. It’s less common than it used to be, as some of the teachers seem to have recognized problems with it. But the veil teaching sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Q: Yes, this sounds pretty familiar. And I must say, it sounds pretty good, too. Are you saying that something is wrong with it?

A: It tends to identify the timeless truth of your nature with a coming-and-going experience. And it is based on the false assumption that there are times in which you are not in direct contact with your nature. It creates the expectation that to be enlightened, to be free, one must perpetually have the same blissful, expanded experiences. Because all experiences come and go, this impossible expectation leads to repeated frustration and actually borders on nihilism. The teaching that a veil can come between you and your nature, and that you peek through the veil at those times when you feel open, confuses a particular feeling of openness with the openness from which feelings arise. You are always in direct contact with your nature as awareness. Enlightenment does not reside in a feeling; it is much vaster, sweeter, and more effortless than this. There is deep irony in this. In the satsang teachings, these oceanic states are usually not seen as experiences, since satsang is primarily interested in coarser and more tangible experiences such as emotions. But since they come and go, they are experiences. So when the satsang teaching fails to see these more subtle happenings as experiences, it privileges them by converting them into impossible experiential goals. This makes the goal just another phenomenal experience. A subtle one, but an experience all the same. What the nondual teachings speak about is more subtle and infinitely more pervasive than this.
But Gregji, how are these gurus going to make any money if they don't have their smoke and mirrors to sell?

We haven't read the book, but it gets 4 out of 5 turbans just for that little bit.

Labels:

24 Comments:

At 11/24/2007 1:57 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Greg Goode is quoted...
It is taught that during these moments, the normally occluding veils have dropped away, giving the student a direct experience of their true nature.

Thanks for providing this taste of Greg's teaching. It speaks to what I've felt in response to various satsang groups, as well as to some books like McKenna's "Spiritual Enlightenmet: The Damnedest Thing."

That is: doesn't the idea of "non-duality" suggest that we can deeply question any type of opposities or distinctions we believe in and cling to? And in fact, the popularity of some satsang teachers, and of McKenna, seems connected to their ability to skillfully and elegantly call into question dualities like Good vs Evil or Spiritual vs Mundane or Self vs World.

And yet sometimes there are other dualities that remain unexamined in these teachings. That'd be stuff like "I'm awakened and you're not" or "I'm experiencing True Nature and you're not" or "That wonderful merged feeling I had during satsang was my True Nature, but the ordinary experience of washing the dishes is something else."

I think that's what Greg's post is pointing to here. Say someone gets a special experience in a satsang, but not at other times. That experience is something that comes and goes, so why call something that's coming and going "non-dual"??

That thing we point to with names like "non-dual" or "true nature"... it does not need to be equated with some special experience. It does not need to be thought of as a thing that we can get.

It's a point that's useful to hit, and I hadn't read Greg's style of hitting it till you posted these quotes.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 11/25/2007 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, I don't know Greg Goode and have never heard about him other than on this blog site. He communicates very clearly but I would be taking your word that he is anything other than a guy with a good line of patter who is directing people with enough money to sit with him and get their heads straight. Since he charges for counseling and likely accepts visa and mastercharge, how is he different from other teachers who are smart enough to realize that the tide has turned and that there is still money to be made in the guru game but you have to be more subtle about it now?

I am not saying Greg Goode is doing this. I am just wondering...

 
At 11/25/2007 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Greg that anything that comes and goes must be, therefore, an experience. But there seems to be some implication that whatever we are experiencing is our "true nature". That would lead to the common "new age" thinking that there really is no enlightenment (also stated by very old texts, as well, but in a much different context, after the student actually is realized...). This "there is no enlightenment thinking, leads to people thinking "therefore, I know all there is to know". Sorry, but I think (and know) that this is a dead end. Even my father thinks he knows everything, but he's steeped in ignorant foolishness, pursuing the world madly. It's fine and good to tell people who have realized that there is no guru, no enlightenment, etc., because there really is no ego in that state, and there is no where to go, to achieve, for them. But to say this generally, really doesn't help people at all, imo. It just re-inforces their big fat egos and they sit back and say "this lust, anger, greed (you name it) that is being experienced through this body is still englightenment" when it's actually just some simple lust, anger greed, ego, whatever. When a child is very small, it crawls. The mom and dad don't say "stand up!" They encourage crawling for awhile. Then, after some time, they encourage standing briefly, then finally walking. They don't, after the child takes it's first steps, say "run!" They wait. Responsibly. A Guru should be this responsible being, capable of knowing our state and "progress" and of helping us to know what to do (or not do) next. There are far too many "teachers" out there who simply love anarchy, and don't want to be told what to do by anyone, however wise. This leads to more foolishness, imo, and more false teaching. Just teaching that Gurus are false, doesn't make someone a great Guru. It's just another opinion. Finding a qualified Guru is indeed very difficult in this world. There are lots of blind leading the blind types (even on this site, imo). They think they know, but they don't. They think they can help, but they hurt and mislead out of ignorance and ego. They claim they don't want a following, then culture the following by appealing to the ego in the people to "not follow anyone". In fact they are following that person's words! That is the karma of the individuals believing them -- to be lead astray. So be it. I have not found a Guru I trust, yet. I've seen dozens and dozens in my search. Through each one, I've understood something and moved on when I felt there was nothing more to learn there. I believe that if it is my good luck and fortune, I will at some point find a True Guru who will help me to see the Truth, whatever that is, that is written about in the ancient scriptures. All the ancients cannot be wrong. It must exist. So I'll keep an open mind. But I don't think that much of the advice given on this site helps many people, except to ease them away from charlatans. I would never advise people here to follow, say, Greg, or Stuart, or even Jody (sorry, dude). But this is my two paisa/cents worth.

 
At 11/25/2007 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's real easy to associate some positive or blissful emotional state with awakening. And, an exercise I've found useful for cutting through that is to notice what remains the same across the entire spectrum of emotion, from excruciating joy to abject misery and pain. Awareness isn't affected by any state of the I/me story.

 
At 11/25/2007 11:04 AM, Anonymous Yogi Bonsette said...

Oh dear!!

Things get so complicated, don't they?

- and yet they are so simple.

Just work out what side of the posited veil you are really on. That's it. The rest is mind crap.

 
At 11/25/2007 12:18 PM, Blogger jody said...

how is he different from other teachers

He is not saying he's God, or that he has any magic powers to enlighten you with.

It's a HUGE difference. Everyone has to pay their bills, and G.G. is certainly not getting rich in any way. He works at a regular full-time job to make his ends meet.

 
At 11/25/2007 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who has ever listened to adyashanti has heard this same message: that anything that "comes and goes" is different from that which is unchanging (including, he is very careful to point out, "experiences" of "awakening" or the "experience" of doing the dishes). People are going to pick up on the bits and pieces of anybody's teachings and re-configure them to fit their own conceptions, I'm afraid. Advaita is sure not immune to this...it seems to becoming another "cottage industry" out West. McKenna's book is a huge ego-trip, imho, filled with delusions of being that "special chosen one" who "made it". I don't know anybody who takes him very "seriously" ...is he even a real person? or a "compilation"?
anonymous
anon.

 
At 11/25/2007 6:26 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Anony wrote...
That would lead to the common "new age" thinking that there really is no enlightenment

It's not so important what common new agers think, and it's not even important what the ancients think. But with respect to your life, it's important what you think.

If you have some idea of enlightenment, no one has the ability to take that away from you. But where will you look for that enlightenment? You could at least consider looking for it in your experience of this very moment.

Again: it's your choice. If you'd prefer not to look for enlightenment just now, but rather believe that you'll find it a week from Tuesday, no one will stop you. Whenever you do get something, though, please come back and tell us about it then.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 11/25/2007 8:18 PM, Anonymous Vikram said...

Great post by anonymous about discernment. Jody loves to harp on about his understanding of Vedanta and Shankara, but that doesn't make him any more qualified than some of the gurus he loves to lambast on this blog. I know that once upon a time he bandied his realization on the web, but merely prefers to discreetly hint towards it now.

I have met a few true jnanis. They are still rare, unlike the pseudo-intellectuals who proliferate like virii on the internet, and are skilled in intellectual gymnastics of a subtle kind. In my experience, nobody who has ever realized Brahman has wasted much energy in endless and often spurious debates as Jody and his esteemed compatriot Stuart do. Both are very sharp and insightful, no doubt, but that is all. Even the illustrious Shankara humbly accepted his shortcomings when proved wrong, and Shankara created a positive legacy of upliftment alongside defeating the Buddhists and Charvakas in debate.

True jnanis prefer to lead by example, rather than by fault-finding in others. True jnanis, I have observed, also have a very unique approach, which is a natural expression of realization having happened in the context of a unique human being. I don't see that sort of groundbreaking uniqueness in the words of any of the people Jody endorses.

Unfortunately, while their earnestness served them well in their youth, Jody and Stuart seem to have fallen prey to the disease of smug know-it-all-ness. Stuart would do well to really pay heed to his Master's words and say "I don't know", and take treatment for the intellectual diarrhea. So would Jody, actually - vairagya is the hallmark of the jnani (and novice student as well), and I don't sense any vairagya in his compulsive urge to be a policeman. Jody, if you now don't claim to be a jnani, then you are doing harm to tender minds who look to you for guidance by reading your blog. You may destroy the spirit of surrender, receptivity, and idealism which nurtures bhakti and leads toward jnana. First cause no harm, my friend.

I feel sorry to think that some poor fools are latching onto the words of "wisdom" here and are being led further into confusion, being no better off than if they had stuck with a "false guru" with deep faith and devotion. That faith would have carried them far, but blogs like this sow seeds of doubt and do a great dis-service to as many as they supposedly "help".

 
At 11/25/2007 9:10 PM, Blogger jody said...

Jody loves to harp on about his understanding of Vedanta and Shankara

Please, point me to a recent harping about my understanding. I harp about many things, but what I know personally is not one of them, although I'll use that to beat others over the head with.

I will admit that at one time, as I was attempting to formulate how I should go about talking about these things, that I may have tried to present what I was feeling to be true as my understanding. But thankfully, that madness has passed.

I know that once upon a time he bandied his realization on the web, but merely prefers to discreetly hint towards it now.

I'm with Stuart Resnick now, who has rightfully pointed out that there's no good reason to talk about anyone being realized. However, there's still plenty to talk about when gurus claim to be God as a marketing ploy.

I have met a few true jnanis.

You leave me no more reason to believe you are qualified to say who is a jnani than I am.

They are still rare, unlike the pseudo-intellectuals who proliferate like virii on the internet, and are skilled in intellectual gymnastics of a subtle kind.

I suppose this is where we bond, both being members of the above set.

nobody who has ever realized Brahman has wasted much energy in endless and often spurious debates as Jody and his esteemed compatriot Stuart do.

It's called a hobby, Vikram. I may not have much of a life, but I do have some great hobbies.

Even the illustrious Shankara humbly accepted his shortcomings when proved wrong

I'm all for being wrong when shown so. So far, outside my relative ignorance regarding Indian politics, you haven't proved jack.

Shankara created a positive legacy of upliftment alongside defeating the Buddhists and Charvakas in debate.

Plenty of folk get their uplift here, although I cannot vouch for their sanity.

True jnanis prefer to lead by example, rather than by fault-finding in others.

Opinion noted. I don't limit jnanis to *any* behavior, unless they start claiming to be God. That gets them an instant demotion to moron.

I don't see that sort of groundbreaking uniqueness in the words of any of the people Jody endorses.

Not slick enough for you?

Jody and Stuart seem to have fallen prey to the disease of smug know-it-all-ness.

That's know-it-all-ness for US, with a tendency to share our opinions. Just because we're confident in what we say doesn't mean what we're incorrect because we're confident.

Stuart would do well to really pay heed to his Master's words and say "I don't know",

AFAIC, he clearly does.

I don't sense any vairagya in his compulsive urge to be a policeman.

I don't believe passion is any kind of problem as long as you're paying your bills. Vivekananda had loads of it, (although he also had something of a problem paying his bills.)

Jody, if you now don't claim to be a jnani, then you are doing harm to tender minds who look to you for guidance by reading your blog.

And if I said I was a jnani, that would make a difference?

As Stuart suggests, the whole idea of being a jnani is an occluding dualism.

You may destroy the spirit of surrender, receptivity, and idealism which nurtures bhakti and leads toward jnana. First cause no harm, my friend.

One can be surrendered and not a dupe. That's what I seek to cultivate. First, find a guru who isn't full of shit.

I feel sorry to think that some poor fools are latching onto the words of "wisdom" here and are being led further into confusion, being no better off than if they had stuck with a "false guru" with deep faith and devotion. That faith would have carried them far, but blogs like this sow seeds of doubt and do a great dis-service to as many as they supposedly "help".

I've said it a million times: even bad gurus can be good for sincere devotees. However, that's not a reason to seek out or stay with a full-of-shit guru that you've allowed yourself to be deeply duped by.

 
At 11/25/2007 11:05 PM, Blogger Steven Sashen said...

I wish the Advaita gang would stop using phrases like "true nature."

I don't see how the understanding/experience they're pointing out is any more/less true than any other.

To use the phrase "true nature" is a set up and a sales pitch. It's almost impossible to hear "true nature" without immediately comparing the imagined experience of that with the current experience... and have the current one come up lacking. Hearing "true nature" tends to engender thoughts like, "Oh, I'm not experiencing that," "I'm not sure I even know what it is," "I used to have it and I want it back," and "That guy/girl has something I don't have."

Pointing out the usually unnoticed aspect of awareness that lacks the familiar reference points can be a real eye-opener, but to name it "true nature" is merely regurgitating the poetic (or, usually, lazy) language of some other teacher.

I applaud anyone who attempts to describe and discuss this topic (frankly, I'm no fan of "non-dual" either, which has lately become yet another spiritual merit badge: "Oh, well I'm on a NON-DUAL path!") with linguistic accuracy and rigor.

It makes things much less magical-sounding and pulls the rug out from under any sales pitch (don't get me started on "Nothing happened to Nobody"), but also makes the teaching more immediate, relevant and accessible.

 
At 11/26/2007 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tsk Tsk, still smug/defensive Stuart said:

"If you have some idea of enlightenment, no one has the ability to take that away from you. But where will you look for that enlightenment? You could at least consider looking for it in your experience of this very moment.

Again: it's your choice. If you'd prefer not to look for enlightenment just now, but rather believe that you'll find it a week from Tuesday, no one will stop you. Whenever you do get something, though, please come back and tell us about it then."

Er, you have no idea, smug Stuart, where I'm looking for what and when. Again, you imply with your last sentence in this, that you are superior. Is this the Royal "us"? Or You and Jody (capitalized you intended as a joke).

You and Jody are not qualified to instruct anyone, imo. Jody is very qualified to report on the bad behaviors of cheating/fraud Gurus. I come to this site to read the dirt. When it starts getting clogged up with Jody's (and your's) idea of how anyone or where anyone should seek what, that's when it get's very (YAWN) boring, dude.

There are hundreds of wannabe's like you out here in America. Yet you bash everyone else. Give the preaching a rest, and just let Jody give us the dirt on the slimy guys (and ladies) who come in the name of "God" and brainwash unsuspecting people. That's what this site is supposed to be about, not your self-satisfied 'teaching', which is no different from any of the other false Gurus out there.

You sound a whole lot like Sri Sri, in fact: Look in the present moment, blah blah blah blah blah.

Who is looking and where and for what? (Now I'm doing a Stuart)

To Vikram,

I've enjoyed the Aparokshanubhuti by the Great Adi Shankara. I'm sure you know it also. Just reading it daily reveals more and more layers and seems to remove lots of cobwebs. It never reads the same way twice. In it, he not only states how the Brahman is to be known, but pre-qualifications of the seeker! (Much different approach from Stuart and Greg and dozens of these western "advaita" teachers.) I find this little text to be very illuminating in a very subtle way. I especially like the verse on Vichara, where the 'instruction' is to ask the usual "Who Am I" but goes on to 3 other parts: "How does this world come into creation?" "Who is it's Creator?" "Of what substance is this creation made?"

Mind blowing (literally) whenever considered.

 
At 11/26/2007 2:01 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
Anyone who has ever listened to adyashanti has heard this same message: that anything that "comes and goes" is different from that which is unchanging (including, he is very careful to point out, "experiences" of "awakening" or the "experience" of doing the dishes).

Right, Adyashanti speaks about the possibility of "spiritual addiction," of clinging to the wonderful feelings or beautiful understandings that can come with inquiry. I like some of the stuff he says in that vein, and he's got less of a "look at how awake I am!" style than many other teachers, including satsang-givers.

Overall I don't find Adyashanti's style as clear as some Zen teachers, but whatever. Chocolate and vanilla. All people and all things are teaching us all the time, and we can each decide which ones we like.

I'm a fan of stuff like Guruphiliac and Sarlo's Guru Ratings. I find it fun, interesting, intellectually challenging. It's cool, it gives us something deep yet entertaining to talk to each other about.

But... giving Adyashanti 3 stars or 2.5 isn't a big deal to me. More important is: a worthwhile teacher is pointing at something. How can I use that thing, right now, moment to moment? That seems more fundamental than opinions about this or that teacher.

McKenna's book is a huge ego-trip, imho, filled with delusions of being that "special chosen one" who "made it". I don't know anybody who takes him very "seriously" ...is he even a real person? or a "compilation"?
anonymous


I got some amusement from McKenna, even some good feelings and interesting ideas. But I'm right with you, I nod in agreement with your "ego-trip" comment. I'm actually surprised that so many people praise his book. (I'm assuming that all those DOZENS of fawning quotes on the book cover are real.)

I did some research on McKenna when I first read the book. And indeed, all evidence points to him not really existing. I won't hold that against him; some of my best friends don't exist. But still... isn't it icky that some guy created this fantasy figure "Jed McKenna" and is using him to promote book sales, or possibly to promote a bunch of ideas about "enlightenment"? If the teaching in the book could stand on it's own, it wouldn't need this gimmick of a made-up guru and ashram. Blech.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 11/28/2007 4:31 AM, Blogger yomamma said...

I don't think I'm in danger of mistaking Stuart and Jodi for teachers, i think of them more as my cyber buds, or my cyber nephews. yes they get a bit tiresome,but no more tiresome then some of their critics.. Chuck however he's a whole other matter, anyone who brings laughter has got to be holy IMNSHO! I was laughing so hard at something he wrote tonight I think I pierced the veil! So I bow to His most Holy Fatness.

OK, now to be a bit more serious, I think it's great that this is a forum for opinion and thoughts, I'm for having the conversation that the material, inspires, that's what makes this a cool website. If you are in danger of letting one of these kids lead you astray maybe you need NetNanny Adult version.

 
At 11/28/2007 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But still... isn't it icky that some guy created this fantasy figure "Jed McKenna" and is using him to promote book sales, or possibly to promote a bunch of ideas about "enlightenment"?"

I don't find it particularly icky. As I understand it, the guy is very reclusive and private and doesn't want the personal attention.

As for ideas about enlightenment, I see the Jed McKenna books as an antidote to the all too common ideational bondage to concepts about enlightenment and other "occluding
nonsense" that makes people believe that enlightenment is all about
achieving a dualistic state of being some sort of hagiographied
mind-body man-god.

 
At 11/28/2007 1:34 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

yomamma said...So I bow to His most Holy Fatness.
.........

This here is your own "inner mule" talkin, yomamma! Everbody's got one! I see that you are an accountant...do you have a website?

 
At 11/28/2007 2:48 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

Jed Mckenna? what's that? a hybrid of Clampet and Terrance? That is genius! psychedelia meets dumb luck capitalism, A wise fool indeed!

 
At 11/29/2007 12:40 AM, Anonymous Daniel said...

I wanted to respond to something posted here.

Anonymous had written the following: ..
Jody, I don't know Greg Goode and have never heard about him other than on this blog site. He communicates very clearly but I would be taking your word that he is anything other than a guy with a good line of patter who is directing people with enough money to sit with him and get their heads straight. Since he charges for counseling and likely accepts visa and mastercharge, how is he different from other teachers who are smart enough to realize that the tide has turned and that there is still money to be made in the guru game but you have to be more subtle about it now?
I am not saying Greg Goode is doing this. I am just wondering...


Hello Anonymous:

I've been blessed to know and observe Greg Goode for a decade or more. He's spent hours and hours, week after week, year after year, tirelessly helping people over the phone, in person and on-line, like a second job for absolutely no compensation. None. Zilthch. Zero. His assistance, from all reports, was always respectful, non-authoritarian, caring, precise, intellectually acute, spirtiually consistent, warm and wise. He has always done his work quietly and has never hankered after fame or fortune. Although spending an extraordinary amount of personal time advising, guiding, supporting and helping people, understatedly exhibiting impeccable integrity and respect for all, he also found time to meet his beautiful wife and get married. Working long hours at a regular salaried job, I know first hand that his wife suggested that if he was going to spend THAT much of his time helping people, why not also get paid for the time when possible and reasonable? Greg reluctantly agreed to honor her wishes and do that for the sake of basic family needs. Nothing excessive at all. He's as authentic a mensch as they come. . To this day, he is totally focused on helping and still, despite his efforts to reform, he still does a ton of work in service to others totally gratis. ....not that all this matters much unless it was about a Rajneesh and a suspicious fleet of Rolls Royces. I assure you, it certainly isn't about that in Greg's case! He's a hard working man with a huge and generous heart, a lot of clarity and much to offer. . I just wanted to contribute to setting the record straight.

DanielS

 
At 11/29/2007 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Daniel,

Thanks for the info and clearing my doubt. Sounds like a great guy.

 
At 11/29/2007 12:54 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
You and Jody are not qualified to instruct anyone

You might look into, or try to explain, why it is you take a simple conversation over the net, and twist it in your mind into someone "instructing" someone. Why do you, consciously or otherwise, choose to look at it that way?

Is there some instruction you're looking for? Is there some instruction that you're trying to give? If so, OK, but why not just be clear and simple and state what this particular "instruction" is?

If you're not attached to some idea of "instruction," then why do you even bring such ideas up, this explicit idea you're making about someone being qualified or unqualified to instruct something? What do you think should be instructed? And what's your qualification for instructing it?

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 11/29/2007 4:17 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Steven Sashen said...
To use the phrase "true nature" is a set up and a sales pitch. It's almost impossible to hear "true nature" without immediately comparing the imagined experience of that with the current experience... and have the current one come up lacking. Hearing "true nature" tends to engender thoughts like, "Oh, I'm not experiencing that"

There's a particular understanding that says the fundamental truth is something different from just-now experience. IF you're holding that understanding, THEN what Steven says here follows. You hear a word like "God," etc etc, and you find it almost impossible to avoid thoughts like "I'm not experiencing that."

But isn't the fundamental thing NOT the words themselves, but the understanding we hold? Sure, people with one type of understanding hear "God" and think of an old man far far away in heaven. Due to my own understanding, when I hear "God," it's a reminder to pay attention to whatever or whoever is in front of me, because "God" is everything.

When you encounter someone talking about "God" in a dualistic way, one thing you could do is tell them that the word "God" is a sales pitch, and you wish they'd stop using the word. That's OK, but it's just one option.

A different way would be to say, "Where is God right now?" and use the resulting conversation as a way to point out that if God is everywhere, your experience of this very moment is God.

Isn't it possible that some people would reject you immediately if you told them to stop using the word "God"... but if you "spoke their language," you could use that same word to point to something that's NOT a sales pitch, and DOESN'T suggest that something's lacking?

All of this applies exactly the same to "True Nature" etc etc. We don't need to avoid words of any sort. In particular, when people hold great interest in a word or phrase, that very word can be used to point to something that's already appeared, that isn't lacking, that isn't a sales pitch for something you may posibly get somewhere and some time else.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 11/29/2007 7:23 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
As I understand it, the guy is very reclusive and private and doesn't want the personal attention.

The thing about Jed McKenna isn't that he's reclusive and private. It's that he doesn't exist. That's quite a difference.

"Jed McKenna" isn't just a pen name used to preserve privacy. It's an entire fake persona. There's this whole imaginary set-up in which "Jed" has an ashram in the midwest, with students, real people who got transformed by his associate, and "Jed" tells stories about them, presenting all as real events.

It's always impossible to prove a negative... but we can say that there's no positive evidence that all the stories "Jed" tells have any connection to real world happenings.

My best guess is that he's a guy who wants to promote some ideas about enlightenment. He could have just honestly presented his ideas, either leaving out any personal details, or including ones that were true. He could have presented his book as fictional, and honestly said, "I'm making up this situation where a guy named 'Jed McKenna' runs an ashram, and even though it's fictional, please take it as a teaching device, an alegory that I'm using to make my points."

None of the above should be confused with what he actually did, which is make up a name and a whole imaginary world, and presented it as non-fiction, in a way that has made many people regard the book in a different light, than if it had honestly been presented as fiction.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 11/29/2007 8:50 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

Chuck, Thanks for taking interest in my virtual career, they didn't really have a category for me so i just chose the first one on the list, accountant! I do talk to my inner mule but like most mules she is stubborn and ornery , i guess that's why she never went for no fake-o gurus. I started a blog one night but, but it died in the editing process, but if i had one I'm thinking something like; Yomamma, the end of knowledge and everything in between or Yomamma, All the knowledge that got sucked up by the Hoover cas, i was so ecstatic while i vacuumed that I achieved instant nirvana right then and there.

 
At 12/01/2007 8:49 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Yomamma,
I do all my vacuumin with an Orreck upright, which aint very good in corners...but what the hay, it's only a mule shed!

 

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